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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Nov 14, 2009 7:32pm
Forum: 78rpm Subject: Re: Copyright exists -- Free 20s Jazz Collection

I believe I have been consistant in my views throughout this thread. That why after this post, I'm leaving the thread. I feel I am going around in circles with a person who denies the complexity of the issue. In short you're boring me and probably anyone else who has had the misfortune of reading this thread.

I have a long list of copyright research on Feature_Films to deal with. I prefer my time spent on IA to be purposeful. There are a few things you covered in that I thought I needed to address.

I do not believe that there is anything wrong with my method of identifying items that are held in the public domain. That is that the item is supposed copyright until proven public domain. Yes this is a "safe" view, but with the criminal and civil penalties for copyright infringement the way they are, and the potential for a simple mistake on line to become a massive infringement, it is irresponsible, if not naive, to look at things from the opposite point of view.

For a work to be "in the public domain" it has to be free from ALL copyright, intellectual property and related protections, statutory or common law. For that reason alone pre-1978 sound recordings are not "in the public domain" in the US - simply by virtue of the myriad state and federal laws protecting them.

I understand that you are viewing this as a user of copyright works. My views come from being both a user and creator of copyright works. As a person who has assigned copyrights in the past, I have nowhere near as much of an ethical problem with McCartney paying MJJ and Sony for the right to use his own songs (he ultimately gets royalties) than I do with Macca collecting on copyright catalogs that have never generated a cent in royalties for the writers and composers. But I understand that this is the system that you had to work with at that time.

Napster would not have been on safe ground simply by sticking to pre-78 recordings. You can test it in five easy steps:
1. Build a page based in USA.
2. Post the some recordings on it. Be daring, post Elvis Presley's first album on there. This is PD just about everywhere in the world. So why shouldn't it be in the US.
3. Wait for the DMCA.
4. Lodge a counter notice citing their PD status in the US.
5. Go to court and see what happens.

The fundamental issue that you seem to totally misunderstand is that copyright in a musical composition and lyrics and the copyright in sound recordings operate exclusively of each other. Publishing one does not necessarily publish the other. One entering the public domain does not place the other in the public domain. Compulsory licensing of mechanical rights in compositions and lyrics is not a free license. Royalties must be paid to a collection agency per copy or performance, whether for profit or not for profit.

I am a long term Internet Archive contributer and user. I understand its not UNIQUELY American ideals and purposes. This site is used and contributed to by individuals from many different countries. "Universal access to human knowledge" is, dare I say it, a fairly universal mission. Freedom of information and the public domain are not uniquely American ideas. They existed before America and will exist after America.

I am a trained historian, but I took law early in my undergraduate career and studied some copyright law. I understand that while I am bound by the copyright laws of Australia, I am also, under the DMCA provisions of our countries' FTA, bound to many aspects of US law regarding the things I post on US sites. I wouldn't post Universal's 1931 Frankenstein movie (PD in Australia) on a US site and expect to just get away with it. Would I?

Copyright in the United States, prior to 1978, had never been an issue of moral or human rights. An "inalienable" does not have to be applied for on a national register. If US copyright had been founded on the individual's human right to limited exclusive control of their creative endeavours, the system would not have been founded on what is generally known in copyright as "neighbouring" rights. That is, fixed term protection devoid of "moral rights". For example, in most copyright systems internationally, original creative works such as literature, musical composition, lyrics, drama and artwork are offered copyright (protection for the life of the author plus a certain period of time after death), while other works, such as films, sound recordings and typographical arrangements are offered fixed terms of protection. These "neighbouring" rights, much like the US copyright system before joining Berne, do not include moral or authorial rights and are essentially a limited-term right of exclusive exploitation for works deemed to be of commerce not art.

The United States was formed as a conglomeration of smaller corporations (states) primarily for commercial reasons. My studies of US history have highlighted the cause of free enterprise many times over the cause of freedom as an impetus for the 13 colonies secession from the British Empire. It is difficult for me to agree with your ideas about where proprietary rights are headed. As long as the US remains a corporation with the veneer of democracy, I strongly believe the world will see a openly gay female atheist US President before they see your proposed copyright system. With the copyright, political and corporate system as it is in the US today it is, unfortunately, unlikely that all copyright works published in 1923 will enter the public domain at the end of 2018.

I am unsure exactly where the US involvement in the Pacific War has to do with your argument on copyright. Am I supposed to feel indebted to you as a US citizen and accept your naive interpretation of the issues? Your view appears to be that copyright coverage for sound recordings is piecemeal and therefore non-existent. Or is the reference to WWII evidence of some form of blind nationalistic self-importance.

The view that the US saved Australia from Japanese dominion, (or Europe from German for that matter) is short sighted, simplistic, and frankly disrespectful to the 1000s of Australian men who successfully fought the Japanese in New Guinea and the Pacific, my grandfather included, for the nearly three years before the US entered the war.

The only historical guarantee of US non-involvement in the Pacific is that the Japanese people would not have been the subject of two unnecessary live tests of nuclear weapons. With the Russian Forces under Zukov in a position to take Japan with limited casualties (just as they had the Japanese holdings in mainland Asia), it was only the US' need to gain Japan as a post war base, that can be offered as genuine strategy behind those bombs. Granted the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur, but they were so weakened by the Russian advance through Asia that there is no guarantee that the US was always going to take that victory.

It is indicative of the US' post war self-importance that the role of Russia in WWII is not as widely recognised as it should be. Hitler killed himself when Russians entered the building, while the US forces had only advanced as far as the Elbe. The German Army surrendered to Montgomery, not Patton or Eisenhower. They were fighting a war with Britain and Russia and surrendering to Russian forces would have meant immediate reparations for their "sins".

The problem for me with this things is I can never sort genuine discussion and curiosity from the the time wasters.

I now feel strongly that you're a common garden variety Troll. Good luck with the rest of your life. I hope your views on music and recording copyright don't turn out to be too expensive for you in your website endeavour.